Google Targets Small-Business Advertising

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Google ( GOOG) is aiming to increase its ad revenue from local businesses by making it easier and more appealing for small businesses to advertise with them.

The search engine launched AdWords Express on Monday, calling it a "faster and simpler way to start advertising online in under five minutes."

Google launched the product in October under the name Google Boost, and it was used by some smaller businesses. The company says it's fine-tuned the product, which determines searches to trigger specific local ads to appear, and enabled all U.S. businesses to use it.

"AdWords Express is designed to help local businesses that aren't already AdWords advertisers create effective campaigns," according to the official Google blog. The service helps "potential customers find your website or place page and gives you a quick and straightforward way to connect with them and grow your business. You simply provide some basic business information, create your ad and your campaign is ready to go."

The news comes on the heels that Google plans to offer a line of credit to small and midsize businesses to be used to buy search advertising on Google.

"We are beta testing the AdWords Business credit card with a small group of our U.S.-based advertisers," a Google spokesman says. "AdWords is a tremendous driver of growth for small businesses, so we think it makes sense to give them a more attractive way to pay for AdWords."

The spokesman would not offer details, but cited a Reuters story saying the card will have a "competitive" interest rate of 8.99%, an "ample" credit line and no annual fee.

-- Written by Laurie Kulikowski in New York.

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